Russia, China, Veto UNSC Resolution Extending Aid Deliveries to Syria
Russia and China have both vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution mandating another year of humanitarian aid deliveries to war-torn Syria via Turkey. The program, already running for some six years, will end on Friday without a mandate. A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the program “vital to the wellbeing of the civilians in northwest Syria.” The other 13 member-states on the Security Council voted in favor of an extension. Russia, which is military forces in Syria to assist President Bashar al-Assad in fighting a civil war that is now in its tenth year, believes that state authorities should be given responsibility for the distribution of humanitarian assistance. Yet analysts and aid workers note that Assad has been less keen on restoring normalcy for civilians in areas still held by rebels. Those areas are primarily in the northern part of the country closest to the border with Turkey, and especially in Idlib Province, in the northwest, which last December came under a fierce government offensive – backed by Russia – aimed at clearing out rebel strongholds. The offensive is believed to have added over a million Syrians to the roles of people internally displaced by the war.